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Two points. First, the new power (for good or ill) of blogs:

The tragedy stunned space tourism supporters, many of whom were betting that Branson's Virgin Galactic spaceline would be the first in the fledgling business to send well-heeled tourists out of the atmosphere.

"I suspect that this is a major setback for Virgin Galactic, because they may have to go back to the drawing board for propulsion, for PR reasons if nothing else," wrote former aerospace engineer and space tourism consultant Randy Simberg on his blog Transterrestrial Musings.

I guess I have to be more careful what I post. At least I used the crucial word "may..."

The second point, of course (note the emphasis), is that whoever dug this up on the Interweb couldn't read my name correctly, and felt compelled to add the obligatory (and yet, entirely not only not necessary, but insulting diminutive "y" to it).

[Update a minute later]

Great. It's not just the Chron. This has become the AP story, as demonstrated by the same error at the Mercury News. Thus are urban legends born.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 27, 2007 04:53 PM
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You make quotes damaging to the industry based on idle speculation and you're worried about getting name spelled right?

Posted by at July 27, 2007 04:59 PM

You make quotes damaging to the industry based on idle speculation and you're worried about getting your name spelled right?

Posted by at July 27, 2007 04:59 PM

In what way is my quote "damaging to the industry" anonymous moron?

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 27, 2007 05:10 PM


Posted by at July 27, 2007 05:18 PM

No, but the idiot has a point, Rand, even if he doesn't realize it. I'll bet if you were talking to a major newspaper reporter on the record you would've been way more circumspect and cautious in what you said.

It seems hardly fair that what you post here, which your regular audience quite realizes is off the cuff, personal, time-sensitive, subject to revision if you think things over more seriously, yadda yadda, can be picked up by J. Random Journalist and equated at least implicitly with what you would have said had you had time and inclination to think things out very carefully, with due regard for its influence if repeated on the evening news to millions.

But that's the world we live in, at present. It's a bit of a snag, and one reason I never post informal comments on the Internet under my real name. You never know when some idiot is going to take it as my considered professional opinion. I can well imagine this problem prevents other experts from participating openly in public discussions on the 'net, and it will only get worse as reporters increasingly "eavesdrop" on these conversations. (Not to mention the fact that with Google cache, they can go back and eavesdrop long after the fact on conversations that later proved newsworthy.) An ugly trend, tending to stifle useful conversation.

I don't know what the solution is. I suppose some day in the future everyone will be clued in enough to realize that what experts post on their personal blogs is highly informal, and not to be taken as their considered, informed, polished opinion.

Posted by Carl Pham at July 27, 2007 06:19 PM

Well, the idiot might have a point, if I had actually posted something that was "damaging to the industry."

I still await some evidence that I did so.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 27, 2007 06:51 PM

you need to move to L.A., get busted four or five times, go to rehab, get out promise to be good, get busted, go BACK to rehab....they never "misspell" Paris, Nicole, Mel, Robert, etc, etc, etc.

If nothing else it proves the writer never bothered to drop by to see how it was spelled. For that matter he didn't even Google your name.

Posted by Steve at July 28, 2007 05:50 AM

Well, you regularly mis-state "Democratic Party" as "Democrat Party," so why should you be upset if somebody refers to you as "Randy"?

Posted by Dave at July 28, 2007 08:00 AM

It's getting worse. I found this site from an article on my google news page. I'm kind of glad though. I didn't know this was here.

Posted by at July 28, 2007 08:07 AM

Because there's no ideological significance to misspelling my name. It's simply ignorant.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 28, 2007 09:09 AM

What is truly striking is how easily the hard learned lessons from over 50 years of launch vehicle engineering development and manned spaceflight can so easily be forgotten, even to the point of arrogantly ignoring the most fundamental safety practices (e.g., Q-D). Apparently these days all it takes to garner credibility is media hype and a committed following of armchair engineers and hobbyist rocketeers. Frankly, the fact that this accident could even be allowed to happen is an outrage, and this company's amateurish practices need to be fully scrutinized by the appropriate Government agencies, most specifically the FAA and the California State Fire Marshall. Statements have been released in the past that this is a risky affair and lives may well be lost. That is the attitude of madmen that have no business participating in this emerging industry. Their bold arrogance aside, should these businesses really have a “license to kill”?

Let’s get it straight people, Scaled and VG are not pushing any new frontier, they are developing a business to sell souped-up airplane thrill rides to the likes of Paris Hilton. And they have leveraged mankind’s intrinsic need of exploration to cloak that simple reality. Some small progress may occur as a consequence, but only because of the business area they are working in. Fact is, they are in it to make a profit – at minimal expense and investment, like any other business..

Privatizing space travel so far has the appearance of a fool’s endeavor, being mostly led by people with no more qualification to participate other than having a large checkbook. Should any group with true professional expertise ever gain a financial foothold and enter the arena, all this foolery will be embarrassingly obvious. Unfortunately, it appears this emerging industry will be killed by these wannabe rocket scientists before it has a real chance.

The victims of this tragedy trustfully relied on the competence of their leadership. I hope the relatives of the poor souls that were so needlessly and uselessly lost, and those victims maimed and hurt have enough sense to sue Scaled’s preverbal rear ends off. Sickening.

Posted by RKM at July 28, 2007 09:29 AM

The victims of this tragedy trustfully relied on the competence of their leadership.

What does this gibberish mean? The "victims of this tragedy" were running their own test, and responsible for it. Do you imagine that they were somehow ordered by their "leadership" (whoever that is) to do so unsafely?

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 28, 2007 09:55 AM

RKM sounds unusually insincere even for his ilk. I'm sure there are people as stupid as he pretends to be, but they wouldn't know how to push all the right buttons. I wonder how many other of the posts here fall in that category as well. Dave sounds pretty lame too. Don't these people have something better to do on a Friday?

Posted by Karl Hallowell at July 28, 2007 08:46 PM

Or a Saturday for that matter.

Posted by at July 28, 2007 11:55 PM

What is truly striking is blah blah fnord foo bar baz bork bork bork...

No way do you pass the Turing Test, RKM.

Tell your programmer it's time to go back to the drawing board.

Posted by Carl Pham at July 30, 2007 12:33 AM

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